I am back to my Freezing Works series; I need to have 3 works finished and sent off by the end of the month. They’re heading to the “One Size Fits All” exhibition at the Thornton Gallery in Hamilton in August. Each work has to be 10″ square and that suits be just fine for this series. I always enjoy working at that size anyway as it suits the way I work in winter – sitting down at my office desk with the heater on. In winter it is simply far too cold to go to my outside studio and stand at an easel. The studio used to be the caravan shed so it has corrugated iron walls, a concrete floor on dirt, and no insulation at all. Freezing in winter and hot as heck in summer. What a wimp, I know!
These three works are loosely based on photos by New Zealand photographer Aaron Cubis. You can see some of his amazing work here on Flickr. I started with loose washes and runs of Golden Fluid Acrylics; Napthol red medium, Quinacridone magenta & crimson, and Phthalo green (blue) and Permanent green light. From there I have just played around, trying to capture the feel of years of peeling paint and rusty metals. What I loved about Aaron’s photos was the vivid contrast of the red and green paint on the walls and this is what I have tried to capture. This is probably going to be the most realistic of the three works as I tend to loosen up as I get into a subject painting by painting.
The clean-up of the Freezing Works following the fire a couple of years ago is 95% complete now; the landscape looks so different with all those buildings gone. I guess the biggest impact on the landscape was when the chimney came down. I am happy to see it all gone; as I come down the hill into Patea the view out to the Tasman Sea is spectacular. Of course the landscape will never be as it was 100s of years ago, because of power lines, house sat the beach and so forth, but it does give a better idea of just how beautiful the untouched landscape must have been here pre-settlement.